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Traditional balsamic Vinegar of Modena

Today, in the city that is the home of legends such us Ferrari and Pavarotti,the world 's most famous and soughtafter vinegar is produced.
It is an aristocratic condiment that comes from the distant past.
This special and distinctive vinegar is still made with the passion and diligence of people who have always had a flair for the good things in life.
Traditional Balsamic vinegar of Modena represents at the same time,a passion with roots in the distant past and a truly modern delicacy.

From Biblical times...

Mentions of vinegar are to be found even in the Bible. That most seminal of books,infact,contains a number of references to the rather tart product derived from the liquids that come from grapes and wich,even several millennia before Christ,was used for giving greater flavour to food.I do not intend to relate here the history of vinegar based on dubious references,legend uncertain tenuous on purely imaginative reconstructions of the world of the past.
I prefer to limit myself to reporting definite,certain and proven facts,wich will enable us to become acquainted with and appreciate the magical story of balsamic vinegar.
From that epic period in History that preceded the existence of fabulous Mesopotamia,we now take a long leap forward in order to reach the more "modern" times of the Roman Empire.
Even the Romans had a predilection for mixing sharp and sweet flavours,as my be inferred from the frequency with wich thy added to vinegar,or indeed to wine,subtances that were either sweet (such us honey)or aromatic (like mint,juniper,rue or cumin).

From the testimony that Publio Virgilio Marone offers us in his Georgics,we know about the process of cooking grape must
that was extremely widespread in the Modena area, and wich yelded a higly appreciated condiment called defrutum,sapa,or caraeunum,depending on its level of concentration.Columella is said to have recommended this product as an additive for wines or for vinegars,and as a sweetener in place of honey.

Rather later-and considerably closer to the present day-there appears to have been a trade guild delicated to vinegar.

The guild dates back to 1394,and the vinegar makers were strictly bound to keep their recipes and production techniques secret.

Leek and Potato soup with Modena balsamic vinegar

Ingredients for 6 persons:

1kilogram of leek
800 grams of potatoes
100 grams of pork bacon
1 onion
1 carrot
1 stalk of celery
1 clove of garlic
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of rosemary
1 small handful of sage leaves
50 grams of butter
1 glass of dry white wine
vegetable broth
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena

Finely chop all vegetables and spices,except the bay leaf, leeks and potatoes; add salt and pepper slowly saute' vegetables in a heavy casserole dish with oil and butter.Add the finely chopped bacon and the wine. Let the liquid evaporate and add 2 teaspoon of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar. Add the leeks (cut into slim strips), the potatoes (peeled,and cut into small cubes)and the bay leaf. Add the broth,cover,and cook over a slow heat until the vegetable are cooked and the soup is creamy.


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di Graziella Malgeri
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